A pro-life law responsible for shutting down abortion clinics in Texas and many other states is about to take effect in Indiana.
Today, a new state law takes effect regarding abortion doctors and hospital admitting privileges. All abortion practitioners performing abortions in the state must have the appropriate credentials to admit patients themselves to a hospital in case of emergency or have a relationship with a physician who has admitting privileges.
As Indiana Right to Life tells LifeNews, the law states that hospital admitting privileges documentation must be kept on file at the abortion facility and filed with the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH). The law requires the ISDH to verify the validity of the admitting privileges documents.
The hospital admitting privileges law was included in Senate Bill 292 by Senators John Waterman (District 39) and Jim Banks (District 17) during the 2014 Indiana General Assembly session. On Mar. 25, Gov. Mike Pence signed the bill into law.
“The law requiring hospital admitting privileges is necessary to protect a woman experiencing complications after an abortion,” stated Mike Fichter, President and CEO of Indiana Right to Life. “Under this new law, the Indiana State Department of Health will ensure that abortion doctors are prepared to facilitate emergency care for women with abortion complications. Hospital admitting privileges laws enable streamlined care based on a woman’s current medical situation.”
“Prior to this law, an abortion doctor could claim to have hospital admitting privileges, but he or she would never have to legally disclose if the hospital admitting privileges were held personally of if they were acquired through a relationship with another doctor. The law that goes into effect today allows the state to verify that the law is being met. This is important for the health of Hoosier women,” Fichter added.
Fichter told LifeNews: “A similar admitting privilege law, enacted on the county level in Allen County, is currently prohibiting an abortion doctor from performing abortions at his Fort Wayne facility. On Dec. 31, 2013, Dr. Ulrich Klopfer’s back-up doctor with admitting privileges rescinded his role as back-up doctor. Since Klopfer resides in Illinois, it is imperative that a doctor be available after the abortion doctor is no longer in the area if an emergency arises. Klopfer is not the only doctor who does abortions in Indiana but resides outside of the state. This county hospital admitting privileges law not only ensures that someone is available to provide care if an emergency arose, but it also allows the county to verify that the law is being followed.”
“Like in Allen County, the new state law enacted today has the potential to keep Indiana abortion doctors from performing abortions if they cannot prove the status of their hospital admitting privileges,” he said. “We commend our elected leaders for passing this law and protecting women’s health.”
Why are laws requiring abortion practitioners to hold admitting privileges necessary? Consider Angela’s story.
Angela was twenty weeks pregnant when she walked into a dingy abortion clinic in Santa Ana, California, on August 7, 2004. Her abortion was completed in five minutes with little or no pain relief by an 84-year old abortionist, Phillip Rand, who rotated his time between several clinics throughout Southern California.
When he was done with Angela’s abortion, he got in his car and began the three-hour drive on congested California freeways to another abortion clinic in Chula Vista, near the Mexican border, where he had more patients waiting. But when Angela started bleeding heavily, the two medical aids, who were the only ones left in the clinic, didn’t know what to do. One called Rand and asked him to return to the clinic to help the hemorrhaging women, but Rand refused. He was already an hour or so away and didn’t want to go back and risk losing business in Chula Vista. He told them to call 911 if she got any worse.
Angela did get worse – much worse. By the time paramedics arrived, it was too late. They found her in a pool of her own blood. There was no oxygen or no crash cart at the clinic, but it is doubtful that the two minimally-trained aids would have know how to operate them if they had been available. Angela was transported to a local hospital where she later died.
One paramedic was so incensed by how he found Angela that he reported Rand to his supervisor who, in turn, notified the Medical Board. A signed declaration from the paramedic noted, “This was the worst post-partum patient situation at a medical clinic I have ever encountered during my time as a paramedic.” Twenty months later Rand surrendered his medical license.
For Angela, there was no continuity of care. Rand held no hospital privileges. This allowed him to operate well below the standard of care at the cost of one woman’s life.
The new law also permits the ISDH to inspect abortion facilities at least once per year and to perform complaint inspections as needed. It requires abortion providers to give a woman seeking an abortion emergency contact information. Finally, it mandates that the public can verify with the ISDH that hospital admitting privileges documentation is on file with the department. The law can be viewed here.